A few months back, I sent out a survey in the spirit of mental health month. The purpose of this research was to check in with teen girls and young adults to get a pulse on how they are feeling.
Since “stress,” “anxiety,” and being “overwhelmed,” have become big headlines over the past few years, I needed to know, was all the hype really true? Were teens really feeling this terrible way that the media described?
My goal for this post is to show you that life is definitely a LONG journey, with many bumps. You need to learn to manage what life throws at you. You can’t always control the situation, but you can control how you react and respond. Your body and your mind need to be grounded and present so you can be the best version of yourself. This all takes some work, but it seems like it is worth the effort.
Before we get into the results, please, PLEASE, promise me if you feel like you need help, reach out and ask for it. There are some links to important resources at the bottom of the blog.
So, here are the results:
Information about the participants
52% of the participants were 15-16 years old.
30% of the participants were 12-14 years old.
13% of the participants were 17-18 years old.
Around 2% of the participants 19-22 years old*
*Since I have such a small sample size for this (19-22 years old) age group, I will not be reporting any specific data about that age.
54% of teens attend public school.
29% of the teens attend private co-ed school.
13% of the teens attend private single sex school.
Team sports and personal fitness
About ½ of the teens (51%) reported spending 5 hours+ on organized team related sports per week. On the flip side ⅓ of the teens (27%) choose not to participate in any teen sports.
Even though the survey reported ⅓ of the teens were not currently engaging in team sports, they are still keeping up with personal fitness (.e. yoga, spinning, running, etc.). The survey shows that 84% of them are engaging in at least 1-2 hours of activity. Of those, 75% actually report engaging in personal fitness (between 3-5 hours a week). That’s a lot and that’s great!
Half of the teens (50%) spend 1-2 hours on homework
While ⅓ of teens (31%) spend 3-4 hours on homework.
44% of the teens procrastinate often but not always.
33% of the teens procrastinate every once in awhile.
22% of the teens procrastinate ALL the time!
Across all ages groups there seems to be a lot of procrastination! It appears that teens often have a tough time getting motivated to get done what they need to do.
If you fall into this group, check out the Pomodoro method. In a nutshell the “Pomodoro method” is a helpful tool for productivity. Set the timer for 25 minutes, after 25 minutes you have to be done with the task and check it off. This was not in full detail, so check the link for in depth explanation.
It appears from my results, that procrastination could be affecting stress.
Of the teens who said they procrastinate almost ALL the time, 87% of those also said they are stressed out 75% or more of the time.
Of the teens that said they only procrastinate ‘every once in awhile’, only 30% of those teens feel stressed 75% or more of the time.
So…just like your mother probably told you, don’t put things off until tomorrow if you have time to do them today! This strategy works to reduce stress, and even though it may take some real change in habits, it’s a simple fix, that can be a game-changer! More tips to help procrastinators in a future blog post.
Teens like to be social on the weekends
This is a social group of teens! This is how they spend their social time on the weekends:
42% of the teens like to spend their weekends planning more than 1 and less than 3 social outing with friends.
30% of the teens like to go out all weekend long, leaving homework for Sunday (this is the most extreme).
School work and grades
This was also a studious group of teens, who spend a lot of time studying. Our teachers would all like to hear that!
Half of the teen respondents spend 1-2 hours on homework per day, while ⅓ of the teens respondents spend 3-4 hours on homework per day.
82% of the teens report having mostly A’s and B’s.
While 13% of teens report having mostly B’s and C’s.
These teens are smart and like to have fun, sounds like my cup of tea!
Almost ¾ teens (73%) think school is hard, but take it seriously, work hard, and do well.
While only 11% of teens think school is very challenging, their grades reflect their struggles and they wish to do better.
Only about ½ of the teens (48%) are almost always organized.
41% of the respondents are sometimes organized.
Still, almost half of the group are not organized all the time and sometimes not at all. This is not good. Organization is key to relieving stress. When I am organized, I feel comfortable, more productive, and confident. Becoming organized might feel like a lot of work, but it is just a few minutes here and there that make a significant impact. I suggest keeping an open note tab on your phone (and in a real notebook or planner) at all times. At any point in the day if there is something to remember or you need to do later, just write (or type) it down.
EXAMPLE OF NOTES TAB:
Feeling of stress, anxiety, and overwhelmed
32% of the respondents feel stressed 75% of the time.
While 32% of the respondents feel stressed 50% of the time.
14% of the respondents feel stressed 25% of the time.
More than ½ of teens (64%) feel stressed 50% or more of the time!
This is not good! Many people are stressed a lot of the time. If this describes you, here are some small adjustments to everyday life that can help A LOT! Start your day by waking up 10-15 minutes early to review what your goals are for the day. Either write them down or check your calendar/planner to see what’s up and coming. This will take away any feeling of rushing. Mid-day, maybe after school or work, fill up your water bottle and take a 15-20 minute walk to clear your mind. This can help refocus those students who have extended hours of homework after school, like me. At the end of the day, 30 minutes before bed, turn off your light and turn up the air. This will notify your body that it is bedtime, and you need your sleep! Before dozing off, make sure to revisit your goals for the day and reflect.
Exactly ¾ of the respondents (75%) think stress is temporary.
When 24% of the respondents think stress is long term.
- “Do you think stress is long term/temporary?” Right answer: neither, I tricked you! Everyone’s stress levels are a little bit different because everyone is going through different things. For some teens it is a burden over their everyday life while for others it comes and goes.
What causes today’s teens to feel stress?
59% of teens say school work and tests cause stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, and anxiety, 32% of teens say friendships (social stuff) is a big source of stress.
Regarding school work and tests, try the suggested strategies above to keep you more organized or research some others. Test/quizzes are always scary, but the best way to overcome that is to feel confident with the material and BE prepared. Navigating the social scene is always a big issue with teens. Friends are wonderful and important to have, but it’s not productive to watch what they are doing 24/7 on your phone. Stop wasting your time and save yourself from feeling left out or annoyed by being glued to everyone’s latest Snapchat story and Instagram posts!
Around 42% of the respondents go to a friend when feeling stressed, while around 25% of the respondents go to a parent.
Unfortunately, 24% of the respondents keep it inside. This is NOT GOOD, and I don’t think this is a good way to deal with stress. If this describes you or your friend, please visit below to find links to helpful online resources.
When feeling stressed or anxious, half (51%) of the teen respondents listen to music or dance, while 32% of teens engage in an enjoyable hobby.
These are both great coping mechanisms when you start to feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. There are a lot of strategies that teens could probably learn, in addition to these, that can be helpful. That is for another blog post one day! In the meantime, please see my links below for some helpful websites and apps that might peak your interest in learning more.
Comparing levels of stress at different ages
86% of the 12-14 year olds feel stress 50% or more of the time.
78% of the 15-16 year olds feel stressed 50% or more of the time.
56% of the 17-18 year olds feel stressed 50% or more of the time.
- All ages feel some sort of stress. This proves that if you are still one of the ages listed above and are feeling stressed 50% or more of the time, you are NOT alone!
Comparing amount of homework to stress
76% of the teens who do 1-2 hours a day of homework feel stressed 50% or more of the time.
86% of the teens who do 3-4 hours a day of homework feel stressed 50% or more of the time.
70% of the teens who do less than an hour of homework per day feel stressed 50% or more of the time.
- Interestingly from the data above, I didn’t find that the amount of homework per night impacted stress levels. Stress levels appear to be high regardless of the amount of homework teens have. The Survey found that teens that did minimal amounts of homework felt stressed at the same rate of the teens who are doing a lot of homework.
*Here are a list of IMPORTANT hotlines, links, and resources*
If there is an emergency, always call 911.
Call or text the following:
- HopeLine: Call or text 919-231-4525 or 1-877-235-4525
- TeenLine: (310) 855-HOPE (4673) (U.S. and Canada only)
Websites to visit:
Books to read
- Stress Reduction Workbook for teens
- Be mindful deck of cards for teens
- The Mindful Teen
- Teen Breathe
- The Mantra Magazine
- Secret Power of Yoga
Activities that help with self care:
- Yoga, read here to see why yoga is so important, try it at home using Glo.com, Daily Burn, or Alo Moves
- Massages, for Clevelanders, check out Woodhouse Day Spa and Blissful Foot Spa
- Use a gratitude journal prompt for reflecting before bed, see here.
Join me in feeling the zensation my bitmoji and I are sending through the screen:
Bye bye for now! I hope that everyone starts a great school year and stays as much stress free as possible. If you have any tips, apps or general suggestions, you would like to share, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!